10:53 Sep. 6, 2016
Pro-Russia TV channel arson and blockade of premises
On Sunday, 4 September the premises of the oligarch-owned TV channel ‘Inter' in Kyiv were set on fire. The fire started outside the building, but soon spread inside.
The fire started after the activists rallying near the TV channel against its pro-Russia and pro-separatists media content started burning car tires. The firefighters, police and paramedics arrived at the scene immediately and started evacuating people and putting the fire out.
As a result no casualties were reported. Following the incident police detained 6 people, however, according to the statement of the chief of national police of Ukraine Khatia Dekanoyidze – none of them were charged with criminal offence and released.
The following day President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko instructed Prosecutor General to personally oversee the investigation into the arson.
On Monday afternoon, 5 September – almost 24 hours following the incident – Inter TV channel finally submitted CCTV footage from inside the channel to the police authorities.
On the same day starting at 9 a.m. a group of some 30-40 activists started a physical blockade of TV channel's other building. This time both – the law enforcement and ‘Inter' channel were better prepared. The police force, national guard troops and firefighters where on standby near the rally outnumbering the rally participants.
Watch our live coverage of the rally here
This time however there was no violence. The activists erected tents claiming that their protest will be indefinite until the TV channel is shut down by the government.
The U.S. and OSCE have condemned the attack on the media outlet.
Any physical attack on a media outlet is unacceptable. We support thorough investigation into the arson attack at Inter, and are following the outcome closely.— U.S. Embassy Kyiv (@USEmbassyKyiv) September 5, 2016